Training

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NLP Foundation Course Again

It has taken me a long time to come back to this blog. True, I am getting a little busier. Yet, if I count the hours I waste, it is an awful lot. It is also not because I do not have anything important to write about. If I discipline myself to write regularly, I can find content everywhere – in the books I read, from the racing thoughts in my head as I run in the mornings, and yes, even an innocuous word is enough matter for a long story. That is what I discovered again last weekend when I went to attend the NLP Foundation course, as an observer.

My expected ‘outcome’ from attending the foundation course a second time was to make a 20 minute presentation and take the feedback from those present. That was an inspired idea of Ramesh who thought that before getting into training at a professional level, I should ponder over the implications very seriously.

Though the course content the first time and the second time were pretty much the same, I understood things a lot better and in a different light this time. Learning is never static. Lessons learned earlier assume a different colour and meaning when I revisit them at a later time. Like J Krishnamurthi says, truth cannot be repeated.

My understanding is that, to derive maximum benefits out of NLP courses, one has to be willing to lie on the ‘couch’ in a figurative way and expect the mind’s innards to be dissected in full view of the other participants. It is a blessing that it is done affording the greatest of respect to the individuals concerned. Yes, on occasions, the message could be provocatively blunt too. Of course, one can also choose to stay confined in the background or continue wearing masks, but that only prolongs getting further steeped into the nothingness of life. Generally, the mindset of those who come for the workshop is one of openness and honesty.

I was the second person to introduce myself this time. I spoke about my expected ‘outcome’ and also about what I did for a living. It was very short and did not dwell on my passions. Ramesh’s reaction was that I was vague. On the defensive, I said I thought I was clear. One of the participants, Padma came to my defense and suggested that I might not have communicated clearly possibly because I might have been worried. That was again another invitation for Ramesh and he did not waste the opportunity. He said something about my posture or body language could be conveying a sense of anxiety. I was quick to repulse the suggestion by saying nonchalantly that I was not worried.

During NLP sessions, words fly this way and that way. It is very easy to miss some gems from some of those seemingly innocuous sentences spoken by the instructor or the participants. At times, each sentence we utter is like a move we make in a chess game. The instructor reads the pattern behind moves and interprets them. Those who have ears, listen and pay heed.

It took till the next day for me to realize that Ramesh’s remark about my ‘vague’ introduction carried a lot of  weight. It is true, there is some part of me that want to be in hiding. I reflected sadly that I do not come across as an authentic, happy, confident person, proving Ramesh’s inference only too right, about my body language. I have to work on these……..

What was beautiful about the two sessions I attended was that feedbacks are given very gently, devoid of accusatory tones, as mere suggestions and possibilities. There is also the constant refrain that no one can be and should be judged and we do not hold the right to evaluate the rightness or wrongness of people’s stories.

I found the people who attended this workshop an evolved lot. I must say that I often evaluate people on the basis of their looks. I discovered my inferences on the basis of my first impressions were pretty much off target. How many times have I told myself to get down from my high pedestal and truly become aware of and listen to the people in my immediate environment, so that I understand instead of hoping to be understood?

I am glad I am learning. The day before yesterday, I filled two bowls with the fruit trifle I had made and offered them to the two bachelors living in a tiny room on the terrace. It felt good to share the trifle with them. The idea has been forming within for a long time to reach out to them. There is immense beauty within every person and it is only in opening up and giving that I will discover my happiness.

This time in the NLP workshop, I came to admire Ramesh and his wife Tulsi’s strong love and commitment towards each other. It is evident in how they gaze at each other, in how they communicate and their courage to show the world their happiness in being together. To me, this aspect is the best testimony that Ramesh has to showcase his mastery over NLP.  He seems to be very much aware of the words he utters and the actions they lead him to. A trainer who does not walk his talk loses his disguise soon enough and once he is exposed, all the words of profound knowledge and wisdom in the world would not transform people.

The exercises designed to find out the predominant learning modes of people – whether auditory, visual or kinesthetic – was interesting. I am not sure whether the exercise captured my learning modes accurately. What I know is that I tend to be impacted a lot more by what I hear. The written word also transport me to a world of reflection and learning. I experience lasting learning when I write guided by outpourings from within. The challenge is to develop all these faculties by becoming intensely aware.

Speaking about awareness, there is a world out there waiting to be explored about the ‘filters’ I tend to use in my dealings with others. I have got used to using coloured spectacles to view the world outside and people. Dwelling in the past or future as opposed to being in the present, associated / dissociated thinking, towards / away from states, procedure vs choice, internal reference opposed to external reference, big chunk and small chunk thinking are all filters I use at some time or the other. Being aware of the type of filters as I use them can help me take life enhancing decisions instead of being condemned to repeat actions out of mindless habits.

On Sunday Ramesh gave me the chance to make my presentation. I spoke about finding one’s purpose in life. I was not able to cover everything I wanted to. I was also uneasily conscious of the fact that I was being evaluated. At the end of the presentation, I invited ‘honest’ feedback. I got what I asked for and more. Shashi Kiran said, I looked too serious and my body language was pretty awful. Karthik’s opinion was that I did not engage his attention and he hardly remembered anything I said. Ramapriya pointed out the fact that I did not acknowledge people’s feedback with eager anticipation. I was also told that I should smile more and my body should be flexible.

Thulsi who spoke at length, commended me for a number of things. She said I began well, engaged the participants by asking questions and explained important points with interesting imageries. She too said I should have been more relaxed. Ramesh congratulated me for my guts.

Later during the programme, Sunny Mawlong – he is an awesome personality – whispered to me during one session in the afternoon that what matters is passion. And I will make it as a trainer because of that. The body language and everything else will follow. He went on to tell me about his experience from a shy person to being a sought after trainer.

Yet, at the end of it all, I felt downhearted and resembled a soda without any fizz. I remained that way for another two or three days. After that, I started feeling grateful for the experience. For knowing the ground I stand on. And for the challenge of new frontiers to travel towards.

Most often the best gifts in life come wrapped in mysterious packages. It takes time to unravel. With focus and grit I can, peel by peel, get to the heart of the gift.

All I need is to repose faith in the gift waiting for me. I know how I have to travel towards the gift awaiting me, as a trainer. I have to relax and let others listening to me, relax as well. I have to share my happiness with others and show it on my face with expanded lips. I must let my body communicate ideas and feelings more than my words. And I have to share, culling out gems from my life experiences and that of others, with conviction.

The process of doing these will be the gifts that await me. Every moment I invest on this journey I will be with my coveted gift.

Things don’t look so complicated now. Touche, Babu Vincent! You are now living in the realm of Internal Reference.